An event takes place this week in Yorkton that is rather significant in terms of what it means to the community.
The Meridian Canadian Open will be taking over the Gallagher Centre for the week as part of Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling, and that is something that creates a rather diverse impact locally.
To begin with, there is the obvious impact such an event has on the sport of curling locally. An event which brings international curlers to the city has to fire interest among local curlers who can see first-hand just how far the sport can carry someone who is dedicated to being a top competitor.
Could there be a young curler in one of the city’s schools who is inspired by the Open? There is certainly every opportunity to grow as a curler locally and being up close to the best often opens eyes to the possibilities that come with hard work and dedication.
The event is also huge for the local curling club. It takes a lot of volunteer effort to keep a curling club going, and a big event like the Open may just have a few fans become more involved in the sport after the final rocks are thrown at the Gallagher Centre.
In terms of economic activity this event has to be seen as massively important this year especially.
There is no hiding from the fact the economy has been under some strains of late. You will not find many businesses raving about record setting Christmas sales.
So a January shot in the arm will be welcome.
Having a large group of curlers, coaches, ice makers and officials in the city for a week means restaurant sales, and store visits.
It will also mean an upswing in tourist visits. An event of this scale will see the arena filled with curling fans not just from Yorkton, but the surrounding region. That means more dollars flowing into the economy as well.
And longer term an event such as the Meridian Open puts Yorkton into the minds of curling fans across Canada. When games are broadcast nationally from the event Yorkton gets some added publicity that you just can’t buy.
Finally, whenever our city hosts a major event, from RibFest to the PBR, we do a great job. We can take a lot of pride from that. Our city may not be as large as many on the curling tour, but we put out the welcome mat for competitors and fans with the best of them.
All together this is a week that may be a celebration of curling, but it is also very much a celebration of the community that is Yorkton.